In this study we examined the effect of reducing linguistic information on singing proficiency in occasional singers. Thirty-nine occasional singers were asked to sing from memory and to imitate three familiar melodies with lyrics and on the syllable /la/. Performances were analyzed with an acoustically based method yielding objective measures of pitch and temporal accuracy. Results obtained in production and imitation tasks revealed increased accuracy (e.g., fewer pitch interval errors and contour errors) when occasional singers produced melodies on a syllable as compared to singing with lyrics. This effect may be the result of reduced memory load and/or motor entrainment.